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The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

Olena PavlovaSport
Terrorists often target sporting events

The information about a possible terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics in the summer of 2024 does not look far-fetched at all if we look at the tense situation in the world and the history of sports competitions marred by bloody showdowns. The most striking examples are the hostage-taking and explosions at the 1972 and 1996 Games, and the French capital itself shook literally in 2015, when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the Stade de France stadium.

OBOZ.UA decided to recall the most high-profile and recent terrorist attacks in world sports.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

Terrorist attack against Israel at the 1972 Olympics

September 5 and 6, 1972, became black days in world sports. The bloody hostage-taking terrorist attack at the Olympics in Germany was called the Munich Massacre in the newspapers. Due to extremely weak security measures in the Olympic village and a poorly planned rescue operation, 11 members of the Israeli national team and a policeman became victims of the Palestinian terrorists of Black September.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

The lack of armed security worried the head of the Israeli delegation, Shmuel Lalkin. He was surprised when his team was housed in an isolated part of the village in a small house near the gate, making it vulnerable to attack from the outside. The Germans assured him that they would take special security measures for his team, but as further events showed, these were just words.

Five days before the close of the Olympics, on the morning of September 5, eight armed Palestinian terrorists from the Black September group broke into the Israeli team without hindrance. Wrestling referee Yosef Gutfreund heard the sound of a door opening and raised the alarm when he saw armed men wearing balaclavas. While the referee was holding the door, his colleague, weightlifting judge Tuvier Sokolski, managed to break the glass and escape.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

And wrestling judge Moshe Weinberg tried to fight off the terrorists. Even a gunshot wound to the cheek did not stop him. Already bleeding, Weinberg attacked the terrorists, knocking out one of them and cutting another, which gave wrestler Gadi Tsabari time to escape through the underground garage. However, Moshe himself was immediately killed. His body was found at the door of the complex of the residential block No. 31 at 5:00. And half an hour later, Munich police officers raised the alarm.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

A veteran of the Six Day War, weightlifter Yosef Romano, was also killed in the village, after he had wounded a Palestinian, but was castrated and subjected to other terrible torture in response. Taking up defensive positions in the seized building, the terrorists demanded the release of 234 Palestinians in Israel, two German radicals and 16 prisoners from Western European prisons and their transfer to Egypt.

The terrorists promised to start killing the hostages by noon if their demands were not met. Although the government of Golda Meir refused to fulfill the conditions, as it is an incentive for further attacks on Israelis, German Interior Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher continued negotiations until the evening.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

At 18:00, the terrorists demanded an airplane to fly the hostages to Cairo. It was agreed that the flight would take off from the Fürstenfeldbruck military airfield, where the Germans were planning a rescue operation. At the same time, Israeli special forces were denied participation in the hostage rescue, although they had some experience.

Meanwhile, the German security forces were not ready to fight the terrorists, who were taken to the airfield by helicopters. According to the original plan, German police officers disguised as crew members were supposed to be on the plane, but before the militants arrived, they fled. As a result, the snipers had no choice but to open fire on the terrorists on the runway.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

However, due to poor visibility, a fierce firefight broke out, resulting in the deaths of all 9 hostages and a policeman at the control tower. The terrorists managed to shoot the athletes and blow up one of the helicopters with the Olympians, who were tied up and unable to escape. In the course of the German "rescue" operation, five militants were killed and three arrested.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

But already on October 29, the terrorists were released after Black September hijacked a Lufthansa plane and demanded the release of the murderers. Israel responded to the release of the terrorists with Operations Spring of Youth and Wrath of God, during which the Mossad tracked down and killed two of the released terrorists and some suspected terrorists.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

As football player Volodymyr Onyshchenko later recalled, the organizers of the next Games drew conclusions from the Munich events: "In Montreal in 1976, the security measures were unprecedented. At the entrance to the Olympic Village, everyone was subjected to a thorough inspection. There were security officers at every step. And if we were going somewhere, our bus was always accompanied by two police cars - one in front and one behind, and often a helicopter circling above."

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

The 1996 Atlanta park bombing

But no matter what security measures were taken at the next Games, the 1996 competition in Atlanta was also marred by a terrorist attack. On the night of July 27, an explosive device went off right in the Centennial Olympic Park, where crowds of fans had gathered to listen to pop stars perform.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

One person was killed in the explosion, another died of a heart attack, and more than 110 people were injured. In fact, there could have been many more casualties if not for security guard Richard Jewell, who discovered a backpack with three pipe bombs during his rounds, alerted police and park security, and then actively helped evacuate people from the area before the bomb went off.

However, the American security forces, who were under tremendous pressure after the incident, almost turned the hero into a criminal, pinning the organization of the terrorist attack on the guard. The FBI called Jewell the number one suspect. But the investigation could not be closed quickly. And the poor security guard was harassed in the media.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

The real culprit was found only a year later. It turned out to be a certain Eric Rudolph, who belonged to one of the Mormon sects. But before he was arrested, Rudolph managed to commit several more similar attacks. Jewell was rehabilitated, and the governor of Georgia publicly thanked him on behalf of the state for saving lives at the Olympics.

However, the persecution by the police, FBI and the press nearly ruined his life, so the former security guard sued for defamation of the media. As a result, NBC News paid Jewell $500,000 in damages. CNN and the New York Post also had to write checks, but the amount was not disclosed.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

The bombing in Atlanta stirred up the world so much that during the closing ceremony of the 1996 Olympics, International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch for the first time did not say that it was the best Games in history, but in his speech focused on the threat of terrorism and called for honoring the memory of the victims of the Atlanta bombing, as well as the Israeli athletes who died in Munich in 1972.

Shooting of a bus at the Africa Cup of Nations

On January 10, 2010, a major soccer event, the African Cup of Nations, was supposed to start in the Angolan capital. But two days before the start, it was marred by shooting and murder. On January 8, a brutal attack on a bus carrying the Togo national team took place on the border of the Republic of Congo and Angola.

In the Angolan province of Cabeleta, the bus with the team came under unexpected fire from machine guns and assault rifles, which lasted at least 20 minutes. The driver was killed on the spot, and the terrified passengers tried to hide under the seats. The 10 security guards who accompanied the players to the African Cup of Nations returned fire at the attackers.

"They shot us like stray dogs, and we had to hide behind the seats and lie on the floor of the bus for 20 minutes to avoid being hit by bullets," said Togo midfielder Thomas Dossevi, who played for French side Nantes.

In addition to the driver, the shootout killed Togo's assistant head coach Amelete Abalo and press attaché Stanislas Okloo. On January 8, they were taken to the hospital in critical condition, but doctors were unable to save them. Seven other people were injured, including goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale and defender Serge Akakpo.

Manchester City striker and Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor admitted that he had experienced the worst moment of his life: "No one could sleep after what happened to us." However, the players wanted to stay and play in the Nations Cup in memory of the victims. But the Prime Minister of Togo, Gilbert Unbo, demanded that the players return home immediately for security reasons.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

The separatist organization "Front for the Liberation of the Cabinet Enclave" claimed responsibility for the attack. Its leader, Rodrigues Mingas, threatened to continue violent actions in the province, demanding that the CAN matches in the region be canceled. At the same time, Mingas explained the attack on the bus by the fact that it was accompanied by Angolan soldiers, who were attacked. They had nothing against the players...

Homemade "killers" at the Boston Marathon

On April 15, 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers staged a terrorist attack in the United States during the famous Boston Marathon. Two powerful explosions occurred 12 seconds apart in the spectator area at the finish line, killing three people, including an eight-year-old boy. More than 280 other spectators sustained injuries of varying severity, including the loss of limbs. Windows in neighboring buildings were blown out.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

According to police and doctors, the homemade bombs were stuffed with ball bearings and nails to make the explosion even more devastating. At least eight children were taken to Boston Children's Hospital from the scene of the attack, including a two-year-old boy with a severe head injury and a nine-year-old girl with a serious leg injury.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

After reviewing the evidence, photos and videos of eyewitnesses, the main suspects of the police were the Tsarnaev brothers, former citizens of Kyrgyzstan, who were of Chechen-Avar origin and lived in Russia for some time as refugees before moving to the United States. And then they became dissatisfied with the American policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Eastern countries.

Later, during a police and intelligence operation in Boston, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed, and his younger brother Dzhokhar was detained. Tsarnaev's lawyers negotiated a pre-trial agreement with the prosecution and the possibility of Dzhokhar pleading guilty in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole. But the trial took place, and the jury sentenced him to death.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

Three strikes on Paris during soccer

As for the capital of the 2024 Olympics, Paris has previously experienced several high-profile terrorist attacks, including on November 13, 2015, when a series of suicide attacks took place in the French capital, one of which was near the Stade de France stadium. At that time, the main arena of the country was hosting a friendly match between the French and German football teams.

The game was played at low speeds.

Terrorist attacks organized by radical Islamists from the Islamic State group took place almost simultaneously in several places: suicide bombings near the stadium in Saint-Denis, the shooting of visitors to several restaurants, and the shooting of spectators of the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan hall, which accounted for most of the 130 victims.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

Fortunately, the terrorists failed to enter the arena, where tens of thousands of fans had come, and three suicide bombers blew themselves up near the stadium. The explosion in a bar near the Stade de France claimed the lives of four people. French President Francois Hollande was urgently evacuated from the arena. For safety reasons, fans could not leave the stadium immediately and stayed on the field for some time.

In addition to the 130 people who died, more than 350 others were injured. Frightened by these events, friendly matches between Belgium and Spain in Brussels and Germany and the Netherlands in Hanover were canceled due to the threat of a terrorist attack.

130 people killed in Paris attacks, more than 350 wounded
A state of emergency has been declared in France for the fourth time in its history due to a series of terrorist attacks

And two years later, in September 2017, terrorists planned an explosion at a football match in Paris between local PSG and Bordeaux. But a few hours before the game, law enforcement officers discovered a homemade bomb. The device, which consisted of four gas cylinders filled with gasoline, was found in a store in the 16th arrondissement near the stadium.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

Shooting of fans in Belgium-2023

On October 16, 2023, before the Euro 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden, Brussels was shaken by terrible murders, and two Scandinavian fans became victims of the ISIS terrorist. As a result, the match at the King Baudouin arena was stopped after the first half, and Swedish fans stayed in the stands for more than five hours for safety reasons.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

It all started about an hour and a half before the match, when an Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist opened fire on people wearing the shirts of the Scandinavian national team. The tragedy took place five kilometers from the King Baudouin stadium, where the game was taking place.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

The gunman, wearing an orange jacket, arrived on a scooter and first shot at a taxi carrying two people, including the driver. Then the attacker chased people who tried to hide in a nearby building and shot another victim. The Swedish fans, who were sightseeing and relaxing before the match, died on the spot. A taxi driver was wounded but survived.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

Later, a statement was posted online by the criminal, who claimed to be a member of ISIS and wanted to "avenge the Muslims killed by Israel with the support of Europe." The terrorist turned out to be a 45-year-old Tunisian native, Abdesalem, who arrived in Brussels as a refugee in November 2019. But a year later, he was denied asylum, and the future killer disappeared from the radar.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

According to local media, the terrorist was wounded in the torso after a shootout with police near the building where Abdesalem lived. Still alive, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital and resuscitated twice on the way, but he died, which was confirmed by the federal prosecutor's office.

The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition
The Russian trail of explosions at the Boston Marathon and the shooting of Israelis at the Olympics: the most notorious and brutal terrorist attacks during the competition

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